At Cutter's in Eastern Market the menu is all about making the most of simple ingredients. With meat sourced directly from Saad's down the street, there's few burgers made with fresher ingredients. On a Wednesday afternoon in March, Eater headed to the Orleans Street bar, to watch cook Warren Talley prepare Cutter's massive, 32-ounce burger.
Ten years ago when Cutter's opened, Eastern Market wasn't the popular place it is today. "People laughed at me when we opened this place," owner Charles Nolen tells Eater. However, through the years he's made the grill into a successful business, that's grown alongside the reputation of the neighborhood. "We're not here because it's popular. We were here during the tough times." Now, Nolen says he's looking to grow his brand. "We're at the point where we're looking to expand to different locations."
In the kitchen, Talley starts out by pulling two large, balls of ground beef mixed with house spices from the kitchen's refrigerator and throwing a fresh batch of fries and onion rings in the deep fryer. It's clearly not the average order, as off-the-clock staff gather around to see what he's fixing.
The cook hand presses and shapes the meat into two thick patties, and places them on the buttered flat top grill under a metal lid. Next up he butters three, rather than the usual two, pieces of bun and places those on the grill. Talley dusts the browning patties in garlic powder, before preparing two sets of veggies — lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and, for added spice, sliced habanero peppers. Several pieces of bacon go on the grill as well mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. The mushrooms and peppers are then added to the top patty along with pepperoni, the bacon, and sliced turkey. Talley cracks an egg on the grill and places one slice of American cheese on one patty and two slices of swiss on another.
The 32-ounce burger is a delicate piece of architecture. Talley plates the fries and onion rings first alongside a bun topped with the first layer of veggies, a patty, and a fried egg. On top of that he balances another layer of bun and veggies. Followed finally by the second 16-ounce patty and bun. A steak knife through the top provides additional stability.
One doesn't simply pick up the 32-ounce burger. It's more likely to require a fork and knife, and the help of one or two really hungry friends. The burger is tender and juicy, with hot spots for the habanero peppers, and meaty caramelization. Don't waste a bite.